All photographs taken by Chris Witts unless otherwise indicated
Construction of the Second Severn Crossing
Laing - GTM
1992 to 1996
320,000 cu metres of concrete
30,000 tons of reinforcing steel
150,000 metres of pre-stressed steel
240 stay cables on main bridge
2,434 concrete deck units
137 metres height of main pylon towers
37 metres navigation clearance
948 metres length of main bridge
456 metres length of main span
5,128 metres overall length of bridge
1,000 men used in construction
The Opening of the Second Severn Crossing
Wednesday morning on the 5th June 1996 was a typical English summer day, blue sky, warm sun and just a light breeze to make it comfortable. An ideal day for the official opening of the largest bridge over the Severn.
HRH Prince Charles performed three official openings, the English side, the middle and the Welsh side, but what an anti-climax after waiting for four years to see the bridge completed and open. The media were there, official dignitaries and of course, the symbolic party of local schoolchildren, but not the public.
To make it even more annoying, the first vehicles were not allowed over the bridge until 5am the following morning! To drive over the bridge for the first time is something of anti-climax too, it is not until you are through the tall towers which hold the fan of cables that you are aware of being on the bridge. A tribute to the designers and civil engineers no doubt, for building a bridge that does not distract the car driver from anything but the road in front.
When approaching the road from Wales along the new section of M4 motorway, the impressive structure looks magnificent as it curves out across the wide estuary, a tribute to our modern civil engineers.